Richthofen, Charles, Baron Von

Richthofen, Charles, Baron Von, canon of Breslau, was born of evangelical parents Jan. 31, 1832, in Hartwigswaldau, Silesia. In 1838 his father quietly joined the Roman Catholic Church, while his mother remained firm in her belief, and the sons, by law, had to follow the father. From 1845 to 1852 he attended the [Matthias Gymnasium at Breslau, and decided to prepare himself for the office of woods and forests. He entered the academy at Neustadt- Eberswalde, and finished his course there, but was not satisfied with the step he had taken. He decided to study theology, attended the theological course at the Breslau University, and in 1860 received holy orders. In 1869 he was stationed at Hohenfriedberg, but would not accept the decisions of the Vatican Council. The government had appointed him canon of Breslau, but bishop Forster, of that city, pressed by the chapter, wished to have the canon sign a paper, according to which he accepted the Vatican decrees. Richthofen refused to sell his conscience to Rome, and the bishop excommunicated him in 1873. He then joined the Old Catholic party, and acted as priest till 1875. But finding no satisfaction or peace of conscience and mind even in this party, he joined the Lutheran Church at Leipsic, being received by Dr. Ahlfeld as member Dec. 11, 1875. He died March 7, 1876, in the house of his brother at Berlin. Dr. Besser delivered the funeral oration. See Schneider, Theol. Jahrbuch, 1877, p. 227 sq.; Carl Freiherr von Richthofen, fruher Domherr in Breslau, ein Lebensbild aus den kirchlichen Kampen der Gegenwart (Leipsic, 1877); Schürer, Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1877, p. 616 sq. (B.P.)

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